Today we’ll be delving deep into the wonderful world of sub-£10 spirits with Castelgy Club Dry Gin.
Castelgy is a 37.5% gin available at Lidl for £9.79. The label mentions the word “Gin” at least 8 times, and it is also embossed in the glass bottle a further two times which confirms any suspicions that this may indeed be gin. Castelgy comes in a regular rectangular gin bottle, except for the back of it, which is rounded for no reason other than to be slightly annoying. The back label states that it is “Ideal for cocktails” and lists two tantalising drink recipes; “Lady Brown” and “Lady Brown”. Here they are for anybody joining in at home:
Pour 3cl Dry Gin, 1.5cl Grand Marnier and 1.5cl Lemon juice into a mixer. Add 3-4 ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds. Pour through the sieve and serve with a slice of orange.
Pour 2cl Dry Gin into a long glass and fill with freshly opened Tonic Water. Finally stir briskly and serve with a slice of lemon.
The wording of this is simply fantastic. “Freshly opened” tonic water is specifically listed to ensure nobody ruins their tasty Castelgy gin with that half used bottle of tonic water that has been sitting under the kitchen sink for 3 months. It’s like going to a bar and asking for “Fizzy” coke in your drink. The word “Finally” also suggests that you’ve accomplished a lot by pouring gin and tonic water into a glass, although this is probably one of the more extravagant drinks that Castelgy finds itself in.
Buying this gin was an experience in itself. While trying to find the tonic water (as suggested on the bottle) I noticed the same kid constantly doing laps of the drink aisle, picking up another bottle of orange juice each time. I’m not exactly sure what he was doing, but the last time I saw him he was going in for his 7th bottle. While I was queueing to pay, the woman in front of me had two shopping trolleys filled with plants. I didn’t know Lidl even sold plants, but she managed to spend over £80 on them. The woman behind me had two bottles of wine, a packet of sliced ham and a tub of butter. I can only wish I was able to join her in a drunken evening of munching upon buttered ham, but I have gin to review so there is no time for such festivities. I wanted to follow Castelgy’s Lady Brown suggestion to ensure I obtained the maximum potential of my gin, so I went on the hunt for lemons. I was approaching the fruit aisle when I found this dumb little plastic lemon filled with lemon juice. It was only 35p so I knew it had to be good.
I had read other reviews of this gin which suggested it smells heavily of fish, but I was pleasantly surprised. Castelgy is a very gin smelling gin. There is a slight hint of public toilet, but at this price it is completely ignorable. Tastewise, Castelgy is a fairly bland tasting gin with a slight perfume taste. At first there is a strong lingering aftertaste, similar to the burning sensation in your throat after a P.E. class when far too much deodorant has been sprayed in the changing room. Castelgy gin is a subtle enough drink that you could easily drink it out of the bottle if your only plan is to get shitfaced, but of course it wasn’t bought to drink straight, it was bought to make a
gin and tonic Lady Brown.
My first attempt to make a Lady Brown was going excellent until I had to use the dumb little plastic lemon. I foolishly assumed it was like the Jif lemons which are hard plastic and the juice is shaken out of it. Nope. The dumb little plastic lemon is made of thin plastic which is meant to be squeezed, so I ended up spraying lemon juice all over the television and filling the glass with far more lemon juice than I had hoped to. Luckily the dumb little plastic lemon is filled with dumb shitty lemon juice, so despite using far too much of it and turning the drink slightly cloudy, there was actually very little lemon taste. Castelgy with tonic and lemon is again quite a bland drink but the added ingredients are enough to mask the less desirable qualities of the gin, although the gin is not terribly overpowering to begin with, so you can fill 3/4 of the glass with Castelgy, add a splash of tonic and lemon and you’re good to go.
Overall, Castelgy Club Dry Gin is a very pleasing gin. It’s not comparable to the likes of Caorunn or Hendrick’s, but at under half the price I would definitely recommend it. When looking for a cheap gin I would be more than happy to pick this over Gordon’s or Cork Dry.
Update: I’ve just realised I bought diet tonic water, so if Castelgy gin, diet tonic and a dumb little plastic lemon creates an enjoyable drink, I assume if you put more effort into it you could make a pretty decent drink.
Day after update: This stuff supplies a much bigger hangover than I was expecting. Still, it’s cheap and goes down easy.
Booze Review rating: 8/10 deliciouses